Team SoloMid and Echo Fox was a match to be remembered. Both Team SoloMid and Echo Fox put everything they had onto the Rift but in the end, it was TSM who came out on top. How did Team SoloMid come out on top, though?

After all, both teams had extremely stacked lineups. Echo Fox had Huni, Smoothie, and Dardoch, all players who have been known for their mechanical prowess and unmatched skill-set. Meanwhile, Team SoloMid had Bjergsen and the duo bot lane of Zven and Mithy, players with extremely strong reputations and solid playstyles.

However, despite this, Team SoloMid didn’t seem to have a shot at winning. After all, they were 0-3 before going into playoffs versus Echo Fox and Echo Fox had shown an extremely strong performance in the Regular Season.

They placed fourth overall and were even contesting for the third place spot against 100 Thieves, barely missing out by one game. So, going into the match, it obviously looked like Echo Fox was going to be the victor and break Team SoloMid’s streak of World Championship qualifications.

In five grueling matches, Team SoloMid came out on top even when there were several instances where one wrong move would’ve spelled the end of their season. So how did they do it? How did Team SoloMid manage to come back against a team that they were winless against in the Regular Season? How did they beat a team who was expected to destroy them? How did they do it?

A Crucial Game One Victory

Game one was a bloodbath from the very start and a power struggle for both teams. Team SoloMid was securing kills and getting picks largely thanks to TSM’s jungler, Grig. However, on Echo Fox’s side, Dardoch was securing objectives left and right while maintaining a steady gold lead.

Largely thanks to the works of Bjergsen and Hauntzer, TSM was able to secure game one. Team SoloMid’s Hauntzer absolutely destroyed Huni in the top lane, giving the former South Korea Telecom top laner a run for his money.

Meanwhile, Bjergsen showed up every single time he was needed. His mechanics and game knowledge made him a high-threat target that every player wanted to take down because Echo Fox knew that if they failed to take him out, Bjergsen would take them out.

Despite their high kill count, Team SoloMid was nearly taken out because Echo Fox had the gold lead for thirty straight minutes, never ceding it to Team SoloMid till the very last second. Ten minutes more and Echo Fox would have been able to win the entire thing.

Afterwards, Echo Fox went on to win the next two matches. If Team SoloMid lost the first game, it would have not only been game for Echo Fox, it would’ve been an embarrassing sweep to the TSM franchise, something that no one would have seen coming.

Bjergsen’s Destructive Irelia

After several changes to the League of Legends meta, bruisers and tanks began appearing in the meta. Soon, the mid laners were weeded out, some being made useless while others fully incorporated the bruiser meta and became the new kings of the competitive series.

Bjergsen was one of these players. Despite being a full-on professional when it came to playing Syndra and Ahri, Bjergsen quickly learned to play new champions. One of his most prominent bruisers was Irelia and he used it to his full power versus Echo Fox and it paid off more ways than one.

Thanks to Irelia’s diverse kit, Bjergsen could mix up his tactics and moves and Echo Fox’s Damonte could barely keep up. Because of this, Bjergsen had won the mid lane the moment he picked Irelia. Not only did he dominate the laning phase with Irelia, he dominated the mid and late game with her as well.

He had several game-changing ultimates and used her high burst and mobility to keep Echo Fox guessing. Without him, there would’ve been very little chance to winning game one of Echo Fox versus Team SoloMid.

Furthermore, he also even secured a Pentakill on his Irelia, giving the audience what they wanted, a vintage Bjergsen that knew how to carry his team. Bjergsen proved a key essential to Team SoloMid in their first playoff match. Not only did he meet the standards asked of him, he was also the one calling the shots and leading the team when one wrong move could’ve meant the end for TSM.

Echo Fox’s Best Didn’t Show Up

There’s a reason Huni’s name is known all across the world. Since his arrival on the pro tour, he’s made a reputation for his fast-paced plays and carry playstyle. During the 2015 Mid-Season Invitational finals, Fnatic went a close five games with South Korea Telecom when they were at their peak.

A large part of this was thanks to Huni. Huni not only showed that he was a player that could match up any competitor, he also showed that he could be the biggest factor in a team fight when he was in his zone.

Perhaps one of his most memorable achievements was taking down two of Korea’s most prominent players at the time—Faker and Marin—in a one versus two situation. This solidified him a spot as one of the best player in the world.

But he didn’t show it versus TSM. He had a poor performance on a signature Cho’Gath, going 1/7 on the champion while TSM’s top laner, Hauntzer, bullied him constantly throughout the match. In game two and three, Huni’s performance increased by a little but it was ultimately the jungle presence by Dardoch and the world-class playmaking by Damonte that won them both of those matches.

Finally, in game four and five, it seemed as if Echo Fox’s infamous top laner had just failed to appear altogether. He played an extremely passive Ryze, never showing up when he needed to while Bjergsen’s Irelia just took over the map and eventually took game four.

In game five, Huni’s Kennen wasn’t even Challenger class. He was responsible for five of the team’s deaths while only garnering three assists the entire match. Meanwhile, his top lane opponent, Hauntzer, received four kills and eight assists, a drastic difference.

If Huni had been there that match, playing like he usually does with his explosive playstyles and risky but rewarding game plans, there’s no doubt that the game would’ve been a different story. However, he didn’t meet the expectations needed, especially when his team expected it of him and unfortunately, this was a piece as to why Echo Fox failed to secure the one more game to move on.

A Vintage Bot Lane Duo and a Steel-Minded Jungler

There’s a little running joke about Team SoloMid’s jungler curse. It seems as if every time they bring on a new jungler, that new jungler tends to underperform. Santorin was a top three jungler before coming to TSM and shortly after, he quickly became a limiting factor to TSM’s success.

One of their most famous junglers by far, Svenskeren, may have shown some strong talents in his first few seasons but ultimately, his lackluster performances resulted in him being traded to Cloud9. Perhaps one of the worst cases was MikeYeung.

Before he joined Team SoloMid, MikeYeung was one of the best solo queue players in the North American region. He reached Challenger when he was only thirteen years old while other players struggled to even reach Diamond.

He consistently stayed in the top twenty of the ranking ladder and during his time on Phoenix1 as a rookie, his performance shook the competitive scene to its core. He soon became known as a Lee Sin and Nidalee prodigy and his instincts and positioning were some of the best in the game.

However, as soon as MikeYeung joined Team SoloMid’s roster, things quickly began going downhill. There were several games where the loss was his fault and he was performing far from the magnitude that he was performing during his time on Phoenix1.

That being said, it seems as if Team SoloMid has a problem with their junglers. It seems as if these talented junglers perform worse on TSM than they do on other teams. However, this hasn’t been the case for TSM’s new jungler, Grig.

Grig has been performing better than ever in his matches and he’s been a crucial factor as to why Team SoloMid didn’t fall to Echo Fox. A main reason as to why Grig has been performing so well is because he has a mind of steel. On his signature Sejuani and Trundle, he didn’t give any leeway to Dardoch, forcing him to play his best.

Perhaps what makes Grig such a key piece to TSM is his ability to steal Baron Nashors. He did it versus Echo Fox and he pulled it off several times during the Regular Season. Combine this with his knowledge of playing the mid-game and his heavy jungle presence and for once, TSM’s jungler was the reason as to why they managed to beat Echo Fox.

While Grig may have been one of the most key pieces to TSM’s victory, Zven and Mithy pulled off a vintage performance in every single game they won. When Zven and Mithy were part of G2 Esports, they were known for their positioning and presence in team fights.

Zven used to be known for clutching out team fights whenever G2 Esports needed him to, especially with his Kai’sa and Ezreal, while Mithy’s wide versatility for his champion pool allowed Zven to have the flexibility he wanted.

This bot lane duo quickly earned the reputation of being one of the best teams in the EU LCS because of their raw skill and playstyle. It seemed as if no one could match their ability to play, especially when they were on G2 Esports. In fact, they were one of the two main reasons G2 Esports was such a dominant force for several seasons.

However, whenever the bot lane duo of G2 Esports joined TSM, they didn’t seem to be playing at the same level that they were playing while in the EU LCS. Of course this was a problem for the Regular Season but during the Playoffs, it didn’t seem like they were having any problems whatsoever.

Zven had two extremely strong performances—one on Kai’sa and one on Ezreal—where he made sure that his team would get the damage they needed. Meanwhile, Mithy didn’t give a single bad performance the entire series.

This was one of the best performances that Zven and Mithy have given by far. It was near perfect to imitating one of their old-time performances on G2 Esports and it made old EU LCS fans nostalgic while giving TSM fans something to cheer about.

Grig, Zven, and Mithy were so fundamental to Team SoloMid doing well and beating Echo Fox. Without this trio of talented players, the entire match would have been a whole different outcome. The icon of TSM may be Bjergsen but without Grig, Zven, and Mithy, TSM would’ve been nothing.

Why Was the Match so Close?

A large part of as to why the match between Team SoloMid and Echo Fox was so close was because it was a battle of momentum. As I’ve said before, both teams had extremely strong players to balance out the skill and talent.

In game one, Team SoloMid quickly took control of the early game and because of this, were able to dictate how the game went from then on. Despite the fact that Echo Fox managed to hold onto the gold lead, TSM’s early game momentum eventually propelled them to the victory.

The same goes for game two and three in Echo Fox’s favor. Echo Fox grabbed the early game advantage as well as a few kills and towers in order to ensure that they were able to beat TSM in both of those matches.

Despite the fact that game four and five was a tug-of-war between TSM and Echo Fox, the reason that TSM won, in the end, was because they were able to utilize the small pockets of momentum that they received from winning a skirmish or a team fight.

Ultimately, even though Team SoloMid had more players performing to their highest capability, Dardoch’s jungling alone kept them in the game. Dardoch has been known to be a threat by himself and he really proved it in this series of five even though his team ultimately lost.

In each game that Echo Fox won, Dardoch played a pivotal role in their win.

For example, Dardoch’s Kindred in game two and three absolutely destroyed the laning phase for Team SoloMid, giving Echo Fox the lead for the mid game.

And even though Dardoch was one of the biggest pieces in Echo Fox’s lineup, the rest of the players were also very reliable when it came down to it. Their AD Carry, Lost, dealt some of the highest damage in many instances throughout game one, two, and three.

Damonte proved that his mid lane could match that of Bjergsen’s when he was in his zone and Smoothie already has a reputation to his name. So, even though Dardoch helped hold the team together through this best of five, it was an entire team effort that kept them in the game.


Let’s be honest here. We didn’t expect Team SoloMid to win it. They were 0-3 versus Phoenix1 going into playoffs and at one point, it seemed as if Echo Fox were calling the shots while TSM was struggling to catch up.

At one point, TSM was down 1-2 and they were facing elimination but they managed to pull through and it wasn’t a coincidence. Bjergsen’s strong mid lane presence with his unstoppable Irelia combined with the iconic duo of Zven and Mithy made the difference between TSM’s win and loss.

That isn’t even putting into consideration the dominance and mind of steel that Grig had and the fact that Hauntzer literally dominated the top lane against former South Korea Telecom member, Huni. It was definitely a team effort and not a coincidence that they managed to pull off an amazing feat and victory.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Echo Fox didn’t fight hard. They definitely did and unfortunately, it was a small difference that ended up costing them the game. Echo Fox’s Damonte, Lost, and Dardoch were all strong players and they proved to be very strong adversaries in the match.

But of course, in the end, it was Team SoloMid that came out on top and they’re the ones that advanced. After all, it is TSM’s specialty to play extremely well in playoffs and maybe Echo Fox will perform much better next season. After all, they’ve been playing extremely well and if one team has a chance at being Split champions, it will be Echo Fox.

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